20% Gurren Lagann, 30% Galactic Heroes, 25% Godzilla, 200% Dragon Ball!!!Seriously?Yes.Long ago, a race of beings known as the Golden Tribe sent out a telepathic message into the depths of space, to the other races, who were still young. "Come, from the planets you were born on, here into space and join us." Three races answered. The Golden Tribe called them the Silver Tribe (a race that would directly study under the precursors), the Bronze Tribe (a race of sentient insects) and the Heroic Tribe (a warlike race of Kaiju). The Heroic Tribe quickly annihilated themselves save for five individuals, who were subdued by the Golden Tribe, transformed into gemstones, and implanted into members of other Tribes.In time, when the Golden Tribe chose to undertake a journey to another universe, there was a last race which answered their call. The fourth race was Humanity; they were named the Iron Tribe.In the present day, The Silver Tribe has taken up the mantle of the Golden Tribe, but has dominated the Bronze Tribe and declared the Iron Tribe to be their enemies, driving them from the Earth. Battle-weary and on the run, Iron Tribe receives a new source of hope from their discovery of a Nodos — a young human boy named Age, who was raised by the Golden Tribe before they vanished and contains the fifth surviving Heroic Tribe member, Bellcross. This does not sit well with the Silver Tribe, who redouble their efforts to destroy the upstart Iron Tribe. They too possess not only their own Nodos, but the other three as well, all bound to serve the Silver Tribe.The story proceeds along parallel lines from this point, following Humanity's search for a new home and for peace, Age's crusade to protect his human friends and the struggles of the Silver Tribe Nodos as they attempt to understand Age's resistance and their own place in the Golden Tribe's grand designs.Not to be confused with Marvel Comics' current storyline.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: And so can the Bronze Tribe and the Nodos. Silver Tribe members use Hedron Shields to contain a pocket of air, or elect not to physically appear in space, instead using a psychic projection.
Batman Gambit: The Golden Tribe's master plan involved the five Nodos battling each other at maximum power, an absolutely catastrophic event that was required to release enough of the right energies to open a portal to another galaxy, allowing the other remaining Tribes to pass through. To that end they assigned Nodos to the Silver and Iron Tribes and had them war with each other.
Berserk Mode: The anime's term is "mental chaos" (or "madness" or "frenzy," depending on which translation you're watching). Basically, if a Heroic Tribe member goes berserk, they undergo a significant change in appearance (Bellcross grows a tail and becomes even more shark like in this form) as well as become significantly more powerful (which, given how strong they are to begin with, is pretty frightening). Enough for Bellcross to start punching through the fabric of space itself.
Beehive Barrier: The "Hedron Shields", a multi-purpose tool developed by the Golden Tribe themselves. They function as weapons as well as defenses and can fire powerful psionic beams. And to top it all off, they can be used to repair and construct ships out of thin air!
Blood Knight: Basically all members of the Heroic Tribe were like this. Prior to the start of the anime, the Heroic Tribe basically went into an all out civil war, annihilating star systems in their frenzy. By the time the Golden Tribe put a stop to it, only 5 members of the race remained. The people chosen to receive their power, on the other hand, don't necessarily fit the type, especially not poor Mehitak.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: While humans remember losing Earth to the Silver Tribe, and yearn for the day they can reclaim it, the Silver Tribe view it as yet another planet they've conquered and attempted to subjugate, much like they had done with the Bronze Tribe. When the Iron Tribe finally starts their invasion to reclaim their solar system, the Silver Tribe largely doesn't put up much of a fight, and mostly just abandons it rather than risk fighting for something they don't value too much.
Camera Abuse: Episode 12 begins with showing the Silver and Bronze Tribe rolling out and one of the space insects apparently proceeds to eat the camera (and probably the camera team as well).
Cat Smile: While it never becomes too overt or silly, whenever one of the heroic female characters is really pleased with herself, her smile gets a little cat-like.
Cool Ship: The Argonaut. Also (we would assume) the Althaea, Meleagros' and Atalantes' personal ship and flagship of the human armada, would fit this trope but we don't get to see it in action that much, mostly due to the princes' appalling lack of intelligent strategy.
Emotionless Girl: Invoked by the entire Silver Tribe. Prome O transfers the emotions of her tribesmen to herself.
Everyone Has Standards: When the Iron Tribe attacks the Bronze Tribe's homeworld, several of them notice that after defeating the main Bronze Tribe forces there it's mostly just a nursery for their young ones. Some of the characters don't even bother fighting after a while once they realize any further attacks would essentially be a genocide.
At another time she tries this same tactic to try to destroy the Argonaut. She finds that doing so only increases Belcross's murderous rage, causing extreme devastation. She was then forced to go back again and stop herself from destroying the Argonaut.
Frickin' Laser Beams/Beam Spam: Artemia's specialty. Each is said to have the ability to destroy a planet and he can fire them at a machinegun-like rate.
Frickin Laser Beams are also used by pretty much everyone's ships, since there's not much explanation of just what those things are. In addition, the trails of the Iron Tribe's missiles also look like curvy lasers.
Glory Hound: Meleagros and Atalantes, whose main main motivation for fighting is personal glory, and are quite willing to throw away the lives of the men under them to achieve it.
Holding Out for a Hero: In addition to the tactics described below, the Iron Tribe princes' battle plan basically involves pointing Age at the enemy and releasing him. Then they holler for his help when they fail.
Humongous Mecha: Used by the Argonaut's forces. Pilots with special abilities have Ace Custom units that amplify those abilities to a mecha scale. While they are useful enough in dealing with lower level Bronze Tribe Mooks, Age is forced to deal with anything bigger.
Improvised Weapon: The Silver Tribe go Up to Eleven with this when they improvise a planet as a weapon. After the human fleet ignites a fusion reaction in Jupiter's atmosphere with an Io drop, the Silver Tribe ships (along with a horde of Bronze soldiers) deploy their Deflector Shields as one immense barrier...and then push, compressing a big chunk of Jupiter's atmosphere, accelerating the fusion and turning the entire planet into a giant thermonuclear bomb. The result is somewhat unpleasant for the human fleet.
Jerkass: The Silver Tribe and their allies, especially Rome Ro. This doesn't apply to the three Nodos who work for the Silver Tribe just because their own Tribes are being held hostage — Lecty, Mehitak and Karkinos.
Kaiju: The Heroic Tribe is basically comprised of this. Giant Space Monsters. One looks like an insect, another a shark, and a third has no mouth or eyes at all. Makes you wonder how they breed... Though judging from their mechanic sounds, they may not be entirely organic.
Karma Houdini: Despite the fact that the Silver Tribe's quest to Destroy All Humans! was largely his fault, Rome Ro survives without major injury and receives no explicit punishment, although he is clearly no longer completely sane in the end.
Law of Chromatic Superiority: Of kinds. There are both subverted and straight examples. One would be the respective rise in raw power and commonness of psychic powers from the Iron Tribe (only sparse psychics) over Bronze (one may argue, but they still shoot lasers!) and Silver Tribes to the Golden Tribe, which is even regarded as godlike by the Silver Tribe, which already is strong. The "nobleness" of the metal used to name the race clearly increases, too. One subversion is that only a certain girl of the Iron Tribe, read humanity, could find meaning behind the Golden tribe's prophecies and open their gate for the Silver Tribe to use (Well... she certainly has Golden Hair.
Another example (in deep red) is every frenzied Heroic Tribe member: Their aura becomes red, they grow way stronger, and sometimes, well... Episode 25.
Liberty Over Prosperity: One of the men from Titarros remarks that "Prosperity is a chimera if the price is enslavement."
Lightning Bruiser: All the Nodos qualify but Bellcross is the exemplar. He has the greatest physical strength and endurance when none of them are experiencing their Unstoppable Rage and his flight speed is not to be underestimated either (though it is explicitly stated that Artemia, at least, is quicker).
Load-Bearing Boss: Each of the Bronze Tribe's asteroid-like ships has a small creature at its core which apparently causes the whole ship to blow up when killed. This is apparently because it both controls the ship's movement and when killed makes it self-destruct. Not that this actually works against Bellcross in particular.
Love Makes You Crazy: Episode 22 — Karkinos' death sends Yuty over the edge. Not only does Cerbius grow twenty times it's normal size (she was already in berserk mode prior to that), but she ended up making a solar system-sized black hole.
Memetic Mutation states that Bellcross can punch anything. At one point in the series, he punches the extra-dimensional void which has isolated him and the other Nodos from the universe itself. Yes, Bellcross punched nothing, because the nothing was in his way.
It was stated in that situation that Bellcross' only power, beyond his basic Kaiju body, is existence. Anything that tries to end his existence must directly compete against his power — and he is the strongest of the Nodos.
Messianic Archetype: Age is acknowledged as this in-universe. He was raised by the Golden Tribe, prophesied as the one who will save mankind from destruction. He then proceeds to end the war tearing the galaxy by sacrificing his life to open portal leading to "Heaven" and comes back after to life after four years.
Neglectful Precursors: The Golden Tribe according to Rome Ro, considering that the galaxy almost immediately tore itself to pieces after they left — although it was hardly their fault. The Silver Tribe avert becoming this in the end by passing everything they have to Humanity before leaving the galaxy to join the Golden Tribe.
Only Six Faces: The character designs were done by Hisashi Hirai and it shows, with the younger female characters being almost identical apart from their hair and height. There is a lot more variety than in his previous work, though.
The Golden Tribe was believed to have achieved virtual omnipotence before leaving the known galaxy but little is actually said about their powers during the course of the series.
Several Heroic Tribe members demonstrate incredible feats which are explicitly stated to involve psychic energy, such as Bellcross and Artemia's massive energy blasts and Erymanthos' Time Travel.
The Silver Tribe can communicate telepathically, assemble matter at an atomic level, create shields, levitate, fire energy blasts and telepathically control the Bronze Tribe, among other powers. Most of these they received directly from the Golden Tribe.
The Bronze Tribe use psychic energy for simple blasts and barriers due to their low mental capacity. They also maintain a Hive Mind of sorts which can only be understood by the Silver Tribe.
Certain members of the Iron Tribe have developed mental powers similar to those of the Silver Tribe but of a much lower level. Dhianeila is capable of astral projection and telepathy, Iolaus can teleport within a limited radius and the Mehelim twins can project psychic blasts and barriers when they are together. At the end of the series the Iron Tribe receives all of the Silver Tribe's powers when the latter joins the Golden Tribe in the other galaxy.
Rage Against the Heavens: Rome Ro's primary motivation as the antagonist of the series is his anger at the Golden Tribe for "abandoning" the galaxy to conflict and destruction. So much for "emotionless".
Reluctant Monster: Despite being host to a planet-destroying Kaiju, Mehitak is an extremely peaceable individual for whom Lekti and Karkinos go to great lengths to protect from battle. To top that off, he even refrains from consuming living things, eating only inorganic materials like metal. Considering the above and that he was forced into fighting (else the Silver Tribe will kill off his people), he's earned The Woobie status.
Rapunzel Hair: Yuty & Prome O take this to the extreme — their hair is longer than they are tall (despite, in Prome's case, said hair being tied back). In fact, long hair for men seems to be the fashion amongst members of the Silver Tribe.
Of the other Nodos, Lecty is hardly likely to suffer from a cold neck.
Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Some more than others, though for the other Nodos, the primary differences are minor details. For example, Mehitak's people do not eat any material that could be considered organic, and instead are able to eat raw materials such as steel.
Rule of Cool: A lot, the least of them is the Scenery Porn of constant nebulae in the background, the part where they ignite Jupiter, and the Nodos are basically gods.
Not really killed off. Mobeedo later repaired it by the start of the last episode.
Shout-Out: To Greek Mythology. First off, the title itself. Secondly, the concept of a near-perfect "golden race", a less perfect "silver race", a more violent "bronze race", and a plucky "iron race". Then there's the whole idea of the 12 Labors that Hercules Age must fulfill.
And the character design. A character who is a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander, has incredible strength, a bit of a temper, and causes craploads of collateral damage whenever he fights? Yup, that's Hercules Age.
And the names of virtually all the characters. Dhianeila was the name of Hercules' third wife (the one who got kidnapped by a centaur and accidentally ended up killing him). Iolaous was Hercules' sidekick at one point. The Argonaut was the name of the ship that Hercules traveled on once (for all of five minutes, due to the apparent death of Iolaous). Lernaea was the location of where Hercules fought the hydra, and Karcinos was the name of a crab sent by Hera to help the hydra double-team Hercules (the fact that Lernaea oftentimes turns into a hydra when it fights Belcross makes it really obvious). Meleager and Atalanta were two other heroes who travelled on the Argo (though unusually, in the original they were a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers, a prince and a Raised by Wolvesnote Some stories say that a she-bear suckled and cared for Atalanta until hunters found and raised her.Action Girl. Unfortunate Implications much?). Cerbius? Sounds a heck of a lot like Cerberus, the monster who was Hercules' final labor.
Someone wrote a story over at fanfiction.net that seems to homage Herakles' apocryphal Thirteenth Labor — the one where a king invited the hero to sleep with all of his dozen daughters in one night, if he could. Being an innocent, Chaste Hero of course, Age's "labor" is a little sillier.
Spell My Name with an "S": The spellings of many names in the (licensed) subtitled versions differ from the spellings you'll see on some fansubs.
Stalker with a Crush: Iolaous is generally a pretty decent guy, but he does pay his sisters to smuggle him holographs of Dhianeila. Given the generally positive light in which he's portrayed, this may be a case of Stalking Is Love; the revelation of this habit of his seems to serve no other purpose than to establish his feelings for the princess. He seems to have moved on to a (much healthier) relationship with Aneasha by the end of the series, though.
Staying Alive: Lernaea's powers of decay also work the other way round, allowing him to regenerate from even the smallest fragments. Karkinos eventually extends this power to Yuty, bringing her back to life after her Nodos form disintegrates.
Superpower Meltdown: Heroic Tribe members who succumb to "mental chaos" will eventually be ripped apart by their own powers as they are fully focused on dealing out ever-increasing levels of destruction.
Time Travel: Erymanthos' specialty. Unlike the other Nodos, which actually transform their hosts' bodies, Lecty actually projects it to a desired point in time and controls its actions, though she is also capable of direct transformation.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: It is hinted that each of the three main canon pairingsnote Age/Dhianeila, Iolaous/Aneasha, and Yuty/Karkinos, if you were wondering resolve their respective tensions in the end, but it's really just too toned down to really be satisfying for the audience.
Walking Wasteland: Lernaea's corrosive gas can melt ships, asteroids, Bronze Tribe carapaces and even Nodos skin.
Wave Motion Gun: Used primarily by the Iron and Silver Tribes. Bellcross' seldom-used mouth beam also counts, as do Artemia's energy beams. And in the final episodes, the Argonaut fired its main gun, appropriately named the Star Blaster. The firing mechanism is a clear homage to the original Wave Motion Gun.
Wild Child: Age. Lived his entire life on a ruined planet, has alien squids as playmates, and considers the AI of a dilapidated spaceship to be his mother (a function entirely beyond its processing power).
Raised by Wolves, oddly enough, is really averted. Age certainly lacks most of the skills and education most civilized people would consider valuable, but he was in fact raised by the Golden Tribe (essentially, gods). In fact, he acts as a sort of Waif Prophet on occasion, by informing others about the bits of the future that the Golden Tribe foretold to him.